Hvad blev der af julemandshæren? Om arkivering af flygtige scenekunstformer

Translated title of the contribution: Whatever Happened to the Santa Claus Army? On Archiving Ephemeral Theatre Forms

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Since the 1960s there has been a paradigm shift in the theatre towards a post-dramatic theatre, in which the playtext is not the most important basis for the staging but is part of an interplay with other parameters such as visuals, sound, and movement. This poses challenges to traditional archival strategies that rely on the playtext. New collection strategies are required to ensure this cultural heritage is preserved.This study takes as its starting point a work that goes beyond the unities of action, time and place and challenges the collection strategies the most: The Santa Claus Army (Julemandshæren) by the theatre group Solvognen (1968‑83). The performance took place over five days in the Copenhagen area in December 1974, and was included in the Cultural Canon in 2006 as an important contribution to Danish culture. The study examines only records preserved at The Royal Danish Library due to the legal deposit act, as the Special Collection Department made no further acquisitions. Two sources are
identified in the study: first, contemporary and subsequent recollections, and second, works based on material from The Santa Claus Army that paraphrase the original. The study compares the so-called repertoire, the oral narrative of the event, and the archival records and highlights the differences. It furthermore shows how the re-staging of the work in 2006 by a younger artist is based mainly on the so call repertoire. The Santa Claus Army is well documented, although no playtext was collected. The performance is unfortunately not representative as Solvognen systematically used the media to promote and enlarge their work. The main scoop of this study is that it shows how Solvognen are over-represented in contemporary and later media coverage through the legal deposit act compared to other theatre groups in the 1970s. This calls for reflections on collection strategies. A revision of the legal deposit act is proposed
as well as archival strategies known from other performing arts archives.
Translated title of the contributionWhatever Happened to the Santa Claus Army? On Archiving Ephemeral Theatre Forms
Original languageDanish
JournalDenmark. Kongelige Bibliotek. Fund og Forskning
Pages (from-to)263-298
Number of pages35
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021

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